From This Day On I Will Bless You
On the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, in the
second year of Darius, the word of the LORD came to the prophet Haggai: "This is
what the LORD Almighty says: 'Ask the priests what the law says:
If a person carries consecrated meat in the fold of his garment, and that
fold touches some bread or stew, some wine, oil or other food, does it become
consecrated?' "The priests answered, "No."
Then Haggai said, "If a person defiled by contact with a
dead body touches one of these things, does it become defiled?"
"Yes," the priests replied, "it becomes defiled."
Then Haggai said, " 'So it is with this people and this
nation in my sight,' declares the LORD. 'Whatever they do and whatever they
offer there is defiled.
" 'Now give careful thought to this from this day on
—consider how things were before one stone was laid on another in the
LORD's temple. When anyone came to a heap of twenty measures, there were only
ten. When anyone went to a wine vat to draw fifty measures, there were only
twenty. I struck all the work of
your hands with blight, mildew and hail, yet you did not turn to me,' declares
'From this day on, from this twenty-fourth day of the
ninth month, give careful thought to the day when the foundation of the LORD's
temple was laid. Give careful thought:
Is there yet any seed left in the barn? Until now, the vine and the fig
tree, the pomegranate and the olive tree have not borne fruit.
" 'From this day on I will bless you.' " (Haggai 2:10-19)
After returning from the Babylonian captivity the Jews had
faced a lot of resistance in trying to rebuild their Temple.
Finally they gave up, wrongly deciding that perhaps it wasn't God's
timing. When they did, they faced
another kind of trouble as well.
They lost the Lord's favor, and from then on no matter how hard they worked they
weren't successful. Each time they
thought they were getting ahead, they discovered they were actually getting
behind. Even their offerings weren't
pleasing to Him.
On the day they they turned back to the construction of the
Lord's house, this all stopped and He restored their blessings.
What was the lesson? He
wanted them to put His house first, especially in times of persecution.
The Lord's depletion of their stored up goods is a model of
today's losses, first in the decline of the dollar and now in the decline of
property values. The dollar has lost
over 28 % of it's value in the world markets, making the foreign made products
we buy, or those made of imported materials, more expensive.
(Try to find something on your shopping list that doesn't fit into one or
the other of those two categories.)
The average home in the US is now worth 25% less than it
was a few months ago. Since most
people didn't have 25% equity in their homes to begin with, that means the
average home owner now owes more on his or her property can it can be sold for.
Estimated losses for the Real Estate market will exceed $1 trillion.
About one third of that, $350 billion, has been reported so far, so we can
expect much more bad news on that score.
Officials are projecting that up to 110 retail banks could fail this
year, but some estimates put the eventual total at well over 1,000 before this
crisis is over.. If they're right then one out of every eight banks is already
in some kind of financial trouble.
Retired Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan has called this situation a
“once-in-a-century” financial disaster, and it's impacting financial markets all
over the world.
The blight, mildew, and hail of Haggai 2 are models
of the natural disasters that are also afflicting us now.
We've just entered the hurricane season and already the damages are in
the billions. As it was with the
Israelites, the fruits of our labors are disappearing, and our offerings are not
pleasing to the Lord.
Things that were external and physical in the Old Testament
often become internal and spiritual in the New.
In the Old Testament the Temple was a building in Jerusalem, but in the
New we are the Temple of God, and things aren't national anymore, they're
personal. The good news is that as believers we're not held captive to the fate
of our nation like the Israelites were.
In 2 Chron. 7:14 the Lord promised the Israelites,
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble
themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will
I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
This was a promise to the Jewish people that if as a nation
they would return to their covenant relationship with God he would restore His
blessings on the Promised Land. The
application of this promise to the US is not appropriate.
For us the applicable verses are Matt. 6:31-33.
So do not worry, saying,
'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the
pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need
them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things
will be given to you as well.
This is a promise to each of us personally.
We're not to worry about how we'll get by.
We're to seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness and all these
things will be given us as well. The Lord's feeding of first 5000 and then 4000
was meant to teach us that He is able to provide when we're willing to let Him.
The feeding of 5,000 is the only one of His many pre-resurrection miracles
that's described in all four gospels, which means that except for the
Resurrection it was His most important one.
Now that doesn't mean we can sit back like baby birds with
our mouths open crying, “Feed me”.
Paul said that he who will not work shall not eat. (2 Thes. 3:10)
But it does mean that we are to put our trust in Him to take care of us
regardless of the circumstances, to do the work He gives us no matter what it
is, and concentrate on coming closer to Him.
Let's Get Personal
The time is coming soon when every Christian family in
America will either have a personal experience of
miraculous survival in the face of financial disaster or will know of one
who has. In each case the story will be the same as it was for the Jews of
Haggai's day. As soon as they
stopped worrying about their own lives and turned back to the business of
building the Lord's Temple, His blessings were restored.
As soon as we stop worrying about how we're going to survive the
potentially difficult days ahead and focus our lives on Him we'll experience the
Please don't misunderstand me here.
I'm not talking about some external application of legalism.
I'm not talking about mindless obedience to rules and commandments while
our hearts are in rebellion . I'm talking about an inner reliance on the Lord,
about restoring our faith in both His ability and His desire to provide for us.
There's no prophecy we can point to for assurance that the
Lord will save the United States.
Applying Old Testament promises meant for Israel to the US is just another form
of replacement theology. This is not
a national issue. This is a personal
one, and each one of us will determine the outcome for our own lives.
The very day that Israel decided to resume building the
Lord's House He restored their blessings.
This is a part of the prophecy you can claim for yourself. The very day
you determine in your heart to place your life in His hands He will begin
That doesn't necessarily mean we'll all get to keep
everything we now have. Some of our
possessions are actually the cause of our problems, both because we've over
spent to get them and because they've taken our focus off the Lord.
Some of them have even enslaved us, and were much more fun in the getting
than they are in the having. Many
came with ongoing ownership costs like interest or other fees that eat away at
The Lord will show you what, if anything, has to go.
And don't worry about incurring losses.
If He tells you to get rid of something and you obey, then over time
He'll restore your losses. How do I
know this? Three reasons.
One, He wants you to store up treasure in Heaven. (Matt. 6:19-21)
Two, He's promised that you'll be made rich in every way so you can be generous
on every occasion. (2 Cor. 9:11)
You can't do either of these if you're taking huge losses. And Three He
promised to repay you for the years the locusts have eaten. (Joel 2:25)
That means when you turn back to Him He'll give you joy in return for the
misery you've caused yourself.
But don't think He'll restore your fortunes just so you can
keep all your toys, or get them all back.
That's the failure of the so-called prosperity gospel.
The Lord's promise is that we'll be made rich so we can be generous, not
so we can be irresponsible or selfish. It's in being generous that we store up
treasure in Heaven, where no form of property or currency devaluation can do us
harm. Generous people are also the
happiest people. See how it works?
Some will say, “I'm so far in debt even if I started today
it would take 10 years to get out.”
I say, “How much debt will you have
in 10 years if you don't start today?
The way I see things shaping up, you can either downsize voluntarily and
do it the easy way, or you can wait till you're forced to and do it the hard
Now I know better than anyone that the rapture could come
any day now and spare us all these things.
But if you're part of the 90% of believers with a pagan world view, the
longer He waits the more time you'll have to finally start storing up treasure
in Heaven, where it will benefit you forever.
When you know you're moving to a different city soon, you begin thinking
about your new home and what your life will be like there. Take my word for it,
you're moving to a different city soon, so you'd better start thinking about it.
I used to pray for more money so I could pay the
bills on my outrageous lifestyle. I
didn't get it. Now I live on less than
1/3 of what I used to spend and in every sense I'm wealthier than I was.
Now I pray for more money so I can give more to His work, and He always
sends it. You think maybe there's a lesson in there somewhere?